Senate revives controversial immigration reform bill

[JURIST] The US Senate voted 64-35 [roll call] Tuesday to revive the comprehensive immigration reform bill [S 1639 summary]. A little over a week ago Senate leaders said they would like to continue work on the bill [statement; JURIST report], which was shelved early this month after a 50-45 vote to reject cloture [JURIST report]. The Senate could begin voting on amendments as early as Thursday. The bill still faces strong opposition by many Senate Republicans; to survive, it needs the sustained support of 60 senators.

President George W. Bush has gone to great lengths to build Republican support for the bill, promoting it as necessary for both border security and for the US economy [press briefing transcript]. On Tuesday, Bush also said the guest worker program in the bill was important for moral reasons [transcript; press secretary statement], describing the plight of immigrants being smuggled into the country, working to care for their families. Despite the president's efforts, Republicans in the House may pose an even greater challenge for the bill's supporters, planning to demonstrate their opposition to the Senate bill by a party resolution. Last week House Republicans proposed a tougher immigration bill [JURIST report] that would establish English as the national language and bar all illegal immigrants from obtaining legal status. AP has more.

 

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